LIFE Project Cover Photo

Reviving freshwater pearl mussel populations and their habitats

Reference: LIFE20 NAT/FI/000611 | Acronym: LIFE Revives



The freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) is assessed globally as an endangered species by the IUCN. In the EU’s Habitats Directive, it is recognised as a priority species and listed in annexes II and V, with the conservation status assessed as unfavourable-bad across the Boreal biogeographical region. Without action, the freshwater pearl mussel will become extinct in most of its current distribution area. Finland, Estonia and Sweden have national conservation strategies and action plans to improve the species’ conservation status. This project brings together these strategies, actions, and the relevant authorities, enhancing the simultaneous and coordinated implementation of the existing conservation strategies and action plans.


The objective of the LIFE Revives project is to improve the ecological conditions in all prioritised target rivers, representing 7% of freshwater pearl mussel populations across Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Consequently, the aim is to achieve favourable conservation status and adequate recruitment (i.e. the addition of new individuals to populations) after the project for at least 17% of freshwater pearl mussel populations in these countries. Ensuring ecological connectivity requires including some rivers outside the Natura 2000 network.


Expected results:

Conservation status improved and/or adequate recruitment achieved in the 56 target rivers (about 25% of freshwater pearl mussel populations in Finland, nearly 4% in Sweden and 100% in Estonia) 10 years after the project, almost doubling the number of mussel populations with favourable conservation status in these countries.

- Almost 120 km of river habitats restored for freshwater pearl mussels and salmonids, improving ecological conditions, including:

  • 3 250 restored spawning beds for salmonid fish;
  • 55 km of re-bouldered rapid areas;
  • 3 km of sediment settling pools;
  • Migration obstacles removed from 61 sites;
  • Current deflectors constructed for 62 km of rivers; and
  • 240 experimental pilot sites (“kindergartens”), used as release sites for captive-bred juvenile freshwater pearl mussels;

- Two local river groups established;

- Hydrological restoration of catchment areas totalling more than 3,800 ha: blocking and filling of ditches, treatment of runoff water and creation of buffer zones and wetlands to decrease the amount of nutrients and solids entering the rivers, reducing the dissolved solids in the rivers by 20-50%;

- Freshwater pearl mussel breeding stations established in Konnevesi (Finland), Taivalkoski (Finland) and Põlula (Estonia);

- Captive-bred juvenile mussels released, with 5,000 -20,000 new individuals expected to be alive at the end of the project, thus preventing the 10 populations becoming extinct during the coming decades; and

- More than 1 million people reached through public dissemination efforts and over 8 000 stakeholders influenced.


Reference: LIFE20 NAT/FI/000611
Acronym: LIFE Revives
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 31/08/2027
Total Eligible Budget: 15,855,293 €
EU Contribution: 9,513,175 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: University of Jyväskylä
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Seminaarinkatu 15, 40100, Jyväskylä, Finland Suomi
Contact Person: Jouni Taskinen
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website

LIFE Project Map



  • Awareness raising - Information
  • Forests
  • Environmental training - Capacity building
  • Freshwater


  • aquatic ecosystem
  • environmental impact of forestry
  • freshwater ecosystem
  • invertebrate
  • migratory species
  • monitoring
  • biodiversity
  • forestry
  • forest management
  • restoration measure
  • river management
  • river


  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)


  • 3210 - Fennoscandian natural rivers
  • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation


  • Salmo trutta trutta
  • Salmo salar
  • Margaritifera margaritifera


Type Code Name
SCI SE0820432 Byskeälven
SCI SE0820433 Åbyälven
SCI SE0820434 Piteälven
SCI FI0353002 Ruonanjoki
SCI FI0356004 Pinsiön-Matalusjoki
SCI SE0820430 Torne och Kalix älvsystem
SCI FI1200729 Hiienvaara
SCI FI1200451 Ison Kaitasen lehto
SCI FI1301613 Simojoki
SPA FI1103828 Syöte
SCI FI0200130 Karvianjoen kosket
SPA EE0010173 Lahemaa
SPA EE0010106 Põhja-Kõrvemaa
SCI FI1105406 Metsäkylä
SCI FI1200708 Lohivaaran - Matarasuon alue
SCI FI1200401 Siikavaaran - Korpijoen seutu
SCI FI1200402 Nuottivaara - Puhakkasuo
SCI SE0820431 Råneälven
SCI FI1105410 Koivuoja
SCI FI1105411 Pahkakuru ja Jurmunlampi
SCI FI1105413 Kylmäluoma
SCI FI0800111 Lapväärtinjokilaakso


Name Type
UT(University of Tartu), Estonia Participant
RMK(State Forest Management Centre), Estonia Participant
PIRELY(Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Pirkanmaa, Environment and natural resources area of responsibility), Finland Participant
MHF(Metsähallitus Metsätalous Oy), Finland Participant
EPOELY(Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in South Ostrobotnia), Finland Participant
MHPWF(Metsähallitus, Parks and Wildlife Finland), Finland Participant
VARELY(Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Southwest Finland), Finland Participant
CABN(Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens län), Sweden Participant
Sveaskog(Sveaskog Förvaltnings AB), Sweden Participant
SAA(Swedish Anglers Association), Sweden Participant
SCA(SCA SKOG AB), Sweden Participant
University of Jyväskylä Coordinator